We were quite disappointed by this morning’s flush count. Maybe the snipe are preferring the estuary to the semi-frozen ground and continuing very wet conditions in the nature reserve. But looking back at the records, today’s total of 42 snipe (including 5 jack) is actually higher than the previous two Januarys.
Four snipe went up in the Hay Meadow, 3 in School Pond and 35 in Big Meadow. In addition we spotted several wrens, two mistle thrush in the LGGS Field, a female pheasant in Upper Sowerholme and a little egret flying over along the line of Lucy Brook. Earlier Graham had seen a little owl in Pony Wood.
The wonderfully sunny and almost warm conditions suited the flush counting team this morning. And the snipe too must be finding conditions more to their liking. In contrast to the disappointing figures recently, today’s count set a new record. Snipe were coming up so thick and fast and in all directions that it was almost impossible to keep track. And there may be some double counting as birds disturbed in School Pond settled into Big Meadow only to be disturbed again. But the tally of 160 snipe (7 of them jack), comfortably tops the previous high of 119 from 2nd February last year. The breakdown was Hay Meadow 6; Upper Sowerholme 1: School Pond 82 common and 3 jack; Big Meadow 64 common and 4 jack.
In addition we noted: 13 teal, 2 mistle thrush and 2 mallard in School Pond; 2 water rail along Lucy Brook in the Hay Meadow; 3 mallard on Friars Pond in Big Meadow and a meadow pipit; a great tit calling loudly from the south end of the Orchard. To round things off nicely, there was a glimpse of a brown hare keeping a low profile in the Big Meadow marsh.